Even though my work is firmly rooted in the bel paese, it never ceases to offer me opportunities to meet new people from every corner of the world and learn about their customs and life experiences. Continue Reading →
Some day – hopefully in a not too distant future – we’ll be able to cycle along the Mediterranean coast on a dedicated bike path that will stretch from the Eternal City all the way to the French-Italian border in Ventimiglia. According to an official project ratified in 2016 by the regions of Liguria, Lazio and Tuscany, the local cycling trails which already exist will be complemented with many new sections so as to form the uninterrupted 1200 km long Ciclovia Tirrenica!
Ah, springtime!… Longer days, blooming trees, twirling swallows and, above all, – I may have mentioned this to you before – my very first swim of the year in the Mediterranean!
This inaugural sea dip usually takes place in April somewhere on the Tuscan coast. This year, though, because of a persistent cold North wind, it looked as if this ritual might have to be postponed to some later date. But having finally decided against any rain check, my family and I tried our luck at one of the South-facing bays on the Monte Argentario peninsula, and found nothing else there than a little patch of paradise…
I really love giving books as Christmas presents, especially books about Italian art, handicrafts, touring, food and wine. And there won’t be any exception to the rule this year, since I’ll be offering to three of my friends the beautiful “Woodworking : Traditional Craft for Modern Living”.
The authors of this book, Andrea Brugi and Samina Langholz, an Italo-Danish husband-and-wife duo, very nicely show how anyone, without the tools or expertise of an artisan, and by blending Tuscan elegance with the sleek lines of Scandinavian design, can turn bits of reclaimed wood into stools, egg cups, clothes racks, and what have you.
I did it, at long last! Wandering about the streets of Rome on Italy’s iconic motor scooter, the Vespa!
I had been dreaming of this since I had first seen, as a child, the 1953 romantic comedy film “Roman Holiday”, in which the beautiful woman I was lucky enough to call my godmother, Audrey Hepburn, drives through the Eternal City astride a silvery, fidgety Vespa.
They are everywhere… Over the last twenty years, the monotonous Monobloc – a lightweight stackable polypropene chair, often white in colour – has proliferated like mushrooms all over the world, and most noticeably at beach bars and seaside resorts.
The numbers make your head spin: a billion Monoblocs have been sold in Europe alone, and I’m told that one Italian manufacturer turns out 10 million units a year!
In Italy, the patronymic Corsini has long been a household name, especially in Tuscany and in Florence, where the Corsini princely family has been playing a leading role since the 14th century.
Constructed between 1650 and 1700, the monumental Palazzo Corsini sul Lungarno opens onto the legendary Arno, the river which peacefully meanders through the Renaissance city.
Before moving to the bel paese, I had barely heard about the Etruscans, a rich and remarkable civilization who flourished in ancient Italy until they were conquered and assimilated by the more powerful Latin polity.
The ancient Romans often referred to them as the “Tusci”, from which “Tuscany” has been derived. They also borrowed from them many of their ingenious inventions in agriculture and road construction.